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Abba our services

Our services

Child Protection Services

Child Protection Services: Child protection & statutory services and permanency planning in respect of abandoned, orphaned and young children who are at risk and without permanent alternative care

As a country we are confronted with large numbers of children who are at risk and without permanent family care which is one of the core rights of a child. The child protection services we render are aimed at ensuring that children remain with birth families where possible. When this is not possible we will legally intervene and give children access to nurturing environments whilst in temporary care pending completion of a thorough assessment, ensuring that their right to permanency are addressed through the most empowering and least restrictive placement.

The child protection services we render include:

Family Preservation

  • Identify children at risk
  • Risk assessment
  • Developing intervention plan
  • Support & referrals.

Crisis Pregnancy Intervention

  • Providing Option counselling for birth mothers experiencing an unplanned/crisis pregnancy
  • Provide information re legal rights and
  • General support of clients and connecting to resources: accommodation, provision of birth packs, transport etc.

Statutory intervention in accordance with the Children’s Act 

  • Assess circumstances and remove children in need of care and protection
  • Opening of children’s court enquiries
  • Investigate and compile permanency plans for children & legal finalization.

Temporary Safe Care

  • Recruitment and screening safe care parents and facilities
  • Support & Statutory services

Family Reunification & Alternative Care

  • Building the capacity of the birth parents to care for the child through support , counselling and parent education
  • Building the relationship between parent(s) and child through monitored visits
  • Link parents with community resources and grants
  • Monitor, supervise, support and evaluate the process and outcome

Foster Care Placement (longer term placement)

  • Identify children in alternate care who require foster care placement with extended family or unrelated foster care
  • Screen and prepare foster parents
  • Supervise and monitor the foster placement & facilitate reunification services to birth parents with the aim to return their child to their care should it be in the best interest of the child

Specialised Adoption Services

Abba has a specialised adoption program. The organisation has more than 20 years’ experience in adoption work and all our adoption social workers are registered for a speciality in adoption work with the South African Council for Social Service Professions. The organisation is accredited for both National & Intercountry adoptions.

Abba adoption graphic

National Adoption Program

Our Adoption services include:

  • Adoptability assessment of children in need of permanent alternative family care
  • Adoption counselling of adoption minded birthparents
  • Screening
  • Adoption education
  • Legal finalisation

More detailed information of the screening and adoption parent education services:

Section 231 of the Children’s Act states that in order to adopt one need to be over the age of 18 years and have been screened to be fit and proper by an adoption social worker. This means that all parents wanting to adopt needs to undergo a screening process to establish whether they are fit and proper to be entrusted with the full responsibilities of a child. This is also part of the commitment that we make to the birth families that we counsel – that the family who will adopt the child will be able to provide; materially, emotionally, spiritually and educationally.

The screening process at Abba focuses on several aspects of a person/couple. The main aim is to ensure that adoptive parents are emotionally healthy, stable as well as willing and able to deal with the challenges that come with adoption. To investigate this it is important to look at the following:

  • Motive for adoption
  • General health
  • Support system (including belief system)
  • Marriage relationship
  • Past relationships and interpersonal functioning
  • Parenting philosophy/ relationship with biological children (if applicable)
  • Historical attachments
  • Work history and financial ability

None of these aspects are more important than another and the focus is on making a recommendation and motivation to court, proving that the prospective adoptive parents will be able to provide a home environment that is conducive to building resilience and overcoming of adverse early childhood experiences. Abba’s highly skilled and experienced team approaches this with the aim of empowering and enabling prospective adoptive parents, rather than disqualifying applicants.

Adoptive applicant education/preparation course

A unique feature of the adoption process through Abba is the preparation course that is presented over a three day period as part of the screening process. The aim of this course is to provide preparation and training within in therapeutic group setting to assist parents deal with the unique challenges that come with adoption. The group focuses on the following themes:

  • The adoption triad
  • Nature versus nurture
  • What, when and how to tell your child about their history
  • Attachment
  • Inter-race adoption
  • Adopting an older child
  • Adoption process overview

The feedback that we have received over the years from couples and individuals who have attended these groups has been overwhelmingly positive and participants found it informative, empowering and building their parenting skills.

Abba our services

Intercountry Adoption Program

As a society, South Africa is facing many challenges when it comes to the plight of our children. Families and children are affected by poverty, HIV/ aids, abandonment, violence and the breakdown of families.

It is always a preferable option to offer a child a permanent substitute family through adoption, rather than care in an institution.

In South Africa, adoptions are currently a source of alternative care that is underutilized. This is evident in the low number of placements made per annum. There are many reasons for the low numbers and currently the adoption community is working very hard to raise sufficient awareness and to be able to change this reality.

South Africa is a party to the Hague Convention on Intercountry adoptions, and to be as effective as possible in enabling placements, our country has also entered into agreements with specific countries in the field of intercountry adoptions. National adoptions will, however, always take precedence over international adoptions. Intercountry adoptions are regulated by the Children's Act, 38 of 2005 and only accredited Child Protection Organizations are in a position to render the special services associated with intercountry adoptions. This is done under the supervision of the South African Central Authority.

Abba currently has been mandated by SACA to work with the following organisations and countries in this regard:

  • EVANGELISCHER VEREIN - Germany
  • CHILDREN OF THE WORLD – Norway
  • ADOPTIONSCENTRUM – Sweden
  • WERELDKINDEREN – The Netherlands
  • INTERPEDIA – Finland

For any other enquiries regarding adoptions to and from other countries please contact the National Department of Social Development on LindiweMa@dsd.gov.za

Post adoption support services

The trauma and loss a child experiences as a result of adoption, are complex. The adoptive parents’ journey into adoption does not and should not end after they have completed their screening and a child or baby has joined their home.

Continuous learning for adoptive parents and support structures are essential in this journey that adoptive parents take together with their child. Remembering that the needs of adoptive parents and parenting in general need to be placed second to the needs of your child, are key. The adoption and your attempts at forming positive attachments may bring up your own triggers of your experiences as a child, which can hamper your attachment to your child.

Research and continuous open dialogue where the adoptee voice are centred has shown us that after care services are an integral part of adoption services and something that has been lacking. Abba has therefore made the decision to broaden the continuum of service in order to provide support for adoptive parents, adoptees and birth parents, on this journey.

Abba is excited to take these steps with you as we learn together and hopefully have a more positive impact on children, in order for them to be able to process their loss, feelings of abandonment and need to know about their biological families.

Aftercare services include:

  • Home visits - post placement and when the adoptee turns 1 and a half years’ old
  • Closer communication and support services to adoptive parents who are experiencing struggles for example with “telling”
  • Distribution of relevant articles or books as well as the link to other available resources in order to facilitate growth
  • Support groups, where adoptive parents can connect and share experiences and skills
  • Regular follow up on photos, letters and feedback to the organization within the 2-year period or as stipulated and promised at placement
  • Services related to the facilitation of the biological parents or adoptee’s need for feedback, information or photos, post placement
  • After care services to birth parents, we maintain an open door policy

Training & Engagement

Stakeholders & Community engagement

Community Engagement: Adoption as part of Child Protection

Focus

An interactive workshop focusing on identifying child protection challenges within communities. The focus is on creating awareness and action to address the increasing reality and implication of abandonment and unplanned crisis pregnancies.

  • The importance of knowledge and skill to render objective and judgment free option counselling is discussed and practiced.
  • Dealing with abandoned children in accordance with relevant legislation and policy in an ethical and expedient way is made practical.
  • Adoption is discussed in detail as an alternative placement option – focusing on the adoption triad.
  • Taking action and partnering with relevant role players to address these challenges.
abba training

Timeframe: Vary between 3 and 4 hours – depending on focus group and availability

CPD points: 3

Target groups: Relevant Child Protection role players, i.e. hospital staff, SAP, teachers, students, social workers, DSD, Justice, C&YCC

Trainers: Conducted by senior, accredited adoption social work practitioners in the employment of the organization. These trainers have more than 20 years of both theoretical and practice experience

Community Engagement: Courage

Focus

Courage has been developed and registered by the National Adoption Coalition of SA. It is an interactive workshop focusing on identifying child protection challenges within communities. To strengthen the knowledge, attitudes and skills of duty bearers to apply a legally secure caretaking system for children without parental care or at risk in SA.

Courage is a picture based global program to ensure Capacity building of stakeholders within the child protection system and community at large, assisting them to:

  • Identify and prioritize child protection challenges.
  • Develop a relevant strategy to address the prioritized challenges.
  • To encourage partnership and mentoring in addressing the challenge.
  • To introduce and encourage the use of the developed community maps and use as tool in daily environment – free download of presentations and material – https://www.couragechildprotection.com/.
  • To encourage child protection officials to roll out the program in their communities after receiving the training
  • National and Provincial DSD as well as Universities has been involved in rolling out the program as part of their official Child protection strategies
abba training

As described on the official website:

This is a world where people are empowered to face child protection challenges with bravery, determination and endurance. Courage is a powerful child protection toolkit that can work inside any child protection organization, community, family or individual to help enhance the work that you do.

The Courage Child Protection Toolkit has recently been piloted in South Africa, Lesotho and Zambia, and is available for downloading on our Toolkit page.

Timeframe: Vary between 3 and 4 hours – depending on focus group and availability

CPD points: To apply

Target groups: Relevant Child Protection role players, i.e. hospital staff, SAP, teachers, students, social workers, DSD, Justice, C&YCC

Trainers: Conducted by senior, accredited adoption social work practitioners in the employment of the organization. These trainers have more than 20 years of both theoretical and practice experience

Community Engagement: Choose to Care

Focus

A community engagement program to build capacity of stakeholders in the community in dealing with unplanned crisis pregnancies by proving:

  • Knowledge and insight into preventing crisis pregnancy (Sex, conception and pregnancy awareness)
  • Option counselling skills to assist client with crisis pregnancy
  • Abandonment and adoption – process overview
  • To encourage partnership and mentoring in addressing the challenge
  • To introduce and encourage the use of the developed community maps and use as tool in daily environment – free download of presentations and material – www.crisispregnancy.org.za.

Social workers/stakeholders to roll out the program in their communities after receiving the training

Timeframe: Vary between 3 and 4 hours – depending on focus group and availability

CPD points: To apply

Target groups: Relevant Child Protection role players, i.e. hospital staff, SAP, teachers, students, social workers, DSD, Justice, C&YCC

Trainers: Conducted by senior, accredited adoption social work practitioners in the employment of the organization. These trainers have more than 20 years of both theoretical and practice experience

Specialist adoption training program

The development and focus of our training program:

Since 2010, Abba has become a well-known resource for training of social worker, interested to gain knowledge and practical expertise in the field of adoption. From a humble start, the specialist adoption training program has become an interactive adoption workshop developed through research, practice and ethical foundation.

The organsiation has been and is currently contracted by the Department of Social Development in various Provinces to provide specialised training to social workers in their employ who in future will be registered to render adoption services. The organization have successfully trained more than 1000 social workers during the last 5 years.

Content and learning outcomes:

The program consists of a detailed training manual with supporting documents, based on Adoption Legislation, policy and practice notes and in line with the DSD National Adoption Strategy and Practice Guidelines on National Adoptions.

Over the past 10 years the program has developed into a detailed, researched and practical adoption training program, which has also been included in the Master’s Program in Child Protection of the University of the North West at the Potchefstroom University.

Material provided: Training Manual and process maps

Adoption related supporting documents, i.e. biological parent questionnaire, child background report, medical report, legal and medical checklist, matching form, adoption network agreement, draft adoption reports.

Registration and qualification after completion:

The 3-day program has been registered as a group activity for the continuity of professional development (CPD) and attendees receive 15 points for completing the workshop. With the partnership of National Department of Social Development and the North West University, Potchefstroom Campus it became a resource to train employees and students.

The program has recently been approved as a SAQA 8 post graduate qualification. Social workers in the field of Child Protection and interested in adoption would soon be able to register a short learning course through the North West University.

Facilitators:

The program is facilitated by senior, accredited adoption social work practitioners in the employment of Abba Specialist Adoption and social services. Trainers have more than 25 years of theoretical and practice experience in child protection and most have completed Masters Degrees in child protection. They further have national as well as international exposure and facilitation of training sessions.

Who will benefit?

Social workers working in the field of child protection in need of additional specialist training in adoption work.

The Children’s second amendment Act, Act No.18 of 2016, introduces the inclusion of a social worker in the employ of the Department of Social Development into the definition of “adoption social worker”.

The purpose of the training is to better equip social workers and to provide knowledge and insight on adoption as an integrated part of child care & protection services. Adoptions are viewed as an area of specialty and it has a complex ethical nature that requires specific insights, expertise and skills.

Adoption social workers employed by Accredited Child Protection Organisations and accredited adoption social workers will also benefit by attending the program.

In terms of future development, and per request and recommendation from provincial DSD, the program will also be adjusted to accommodate the needs of supervisors and adoption panel members.

Some feedback

With more than 1500 social workers (DSD and DCPO’s) trained during the past year, the general feedback from attendees was:

“This was something that can be used on a daily basis, practical and interactive.”

“A program that opened eyes in terms of good adoption practice.”

“I now understand the ethical and complex nature of adoption and realized that this is a specialty which requires ongoing supervision and mentoring.”

“I wish I knew this before, concerned about all the cases I dealt with in the past.”

Enquiries:

rene@abbaadoptions.co.za or katinka@abbaadoptions.co.za